When fans think back on the top moments in Super Bowl history, most think about the greatest passes or rushing plays or defensive efforts.
Unfortunately, there have been quite a few gaffes as well. Plays or decisions that fans will long remember. Here are six of the top blunders (in no particular order) in Super Bowl history.
Garo Yepremian’s “pass”
The Miami Dolphins probably would have pitched the first Super Bowl shutout, but a mishap by an accomplished kicker ruined that. Miami led 14-0 when Garo Yepremian’s field-goal attempt late in Super Bowl VII was blocked and the ball went back to Yepremian. He tried to pass it, but ended up batting the ball to Washington’s Mike Bass, who returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. Miami still won 14-7.
Quarterback Peyton Manning was known for sizing up a defense and changing a play at the line of scrimmage. But on the first play of Super Bowl XLIII, that backfired. Manning, who was the Broncos quarterback, was calling out instructions when the ball was snapped, and it went back into the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead for the Seahawks. It was the fastest score in Super Bowl history, and Seattle rolled over Denver, 43-8.
Scott Norwood’s miss
This is a tough way to make this list, but the Buffalo Bills lined up to win Super Bowl XXV with 8 seconds to play. Unfortunately for Buafflo, kicker Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field-goal attempt was wide right and the New York Giants held on for a 20-19 victory.
Jackie Smith drop
In Super Bowl XIII, the Dallas Cowboys trailed the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-14 in the third quarter. Dallas had the ball at the Steelers’ 10-yard line and faced a third-down play. But Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach’s pass to a wide-open Jackie Smith was dropped in the end zone.
Verne Lundquist’s call on radio has been replayed thousands of times: “Oh, bless his heart. He’s got to be the sickest man in America.”
Dallas kicked a field goal, and those missed four points were huge as the Steelers won 35-31.
Leon Lett’s fumble
Cowboys’ Leon Lett, the former Emporia State star, had arguably the most memorable play in Super Bowl XXVII. Lett, a defensive lineman, thought he was putting the exclamation point on what would be the Cowboys’ 52-17 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Instead, he had one of the biggest blunders in Super Bowl history. Lett recovered a fumble and was cruising toward the end zone when he began to showoff a bit. The Bills’ Don Bebee chased down Lett and forced a fumble, denying Lett the touchdown.
What were they thinking? That’s the question that people asked at the end of Super Bowl XLIX — and have continued to ask. The Seahawks trailed by four inside the final minute of the game, but they had the ball at the Patriots’ 1-yard line, and nearly everyone thought running back Marshawn Lynch would get the ball. Instead, the Seahawks tried a pass and Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson, securing New England’s 28-24 win.